Some Nigerians on social media have verbally attacked a senator, Ben Murray-Bruce, for criticising the minister of communications and the Buhari-led administration over the NYSC scandal that has dogged the administration.
PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported how Mr Shittu skipped the mandatory service, an offence that may see him lose his position and earn him a jail term.
Mr Shittu failed to participate in the NYSC scheme despite graduating from the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU) at age of 25.
The revelation about Mr Shittu, who is currently angling to become Oyo State governor, is coming to light about a week after Kemi Adeosun was compelled to step down from her post as Nigeria’s finance minister after this medium reported that she skipped the same service and then procured a fake exemption certificate to cover her tracks.
Months of discreet checks at the NYSC headquarters showed that the communications minister did not present himself for service after graduation and is yet to do so till date.
When contacted Mr Shittu admitted to PREMIUM TIMES that he did not serve but claimed he thought ”his first political post after graduation could suffice as national service”, a claim lawyers and NYSC insiders consider as ludicrous and untenable.
Mr Shittu on Friday also claimed that he has not violated the nation’s constitution.
The corps, on Friday, dismissed the minister’s claim. It said his (Shittu’s) holding of a political office could not replace his constitutional duty to participate in the compulsory national service.
The spokesperson of the NYSC, Adenike Adeyemi, said the minister’s claim that he held an elective cannot suffice for his obligations to the nation.
Mr Bruce, who is a member of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), condemned the minister’s claim. He lamented how a serving minister skipped the mandatory programme while millions of youth who have undergone the scheme are jobless.
“As I am reading the story on @PremiumTimesng about another @MBuhari minister who did not serve, I am struck by the sheer number of members of this administration who have high profile, highly paid jobs without serving, yet millions of youth are unemployed despite serving Nigeria,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.
His comment, however, did not go down with many Twitter users as they blamed him and the Senate for failure to spot such errors during the screening of presidential nominees.
Many have blamed the legislators and the State Security Services empowered to screen presidential nominees for failing to spot abnormalities like the cases of the two ministers.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported how the lawmakers rather used the information of Mrs Adesoun’s forgery to blackmail her to approve suspicious and illicit payments to the National Assembly.
On Saturday, seeing that the odds were not in his favour on the Twitter tug of war, the Bayelsa lawmaker, thereafter, backpedalled quickly. He blamed the SSS ”for the failures”.
“Are you aware that the @NGRSenate screens these ministers based on the information given to us by the security services? If they were able to fool the @PoliceNG and the DSS, how does it make sense to blame me or the Senate?
Are you aware that the @NGRSenate screens these ministers based on the information given to us by the security services? If they were able to fool the @PoliceNG and the DSS, how does it make sense to blame me or the Senate? pic.twitter.com/gjTvNdm7Nv
— Ben Murray-Bruce (@benmurraybruce) September 20, 2018
Below are some reactions from:
The bulk of those ministers passed thru the national assembly for screening…you should be ashamed to even talk on the matter.simplt means you people just sit on tax payers expense
— Jāy💯………… (@jayhima04) September 20, 2018
This tweet is coming from a senator of this nation. To appoint a minister, the Senate must give approval, so what happened to the wrong approval and clearance you gave to the minister?
— ooa1st (@ololadeomotola) September 20, 2018
Am also worried that all these appointees apparently pass through senate screening without been spotted, what exactly is the senate screening for? What was screened?
— Love (MyLove) Ogundipe (@loveog2002) September 20, 2018
I remembered this ministers where screened by the Senate
Why all dis noise. Or it's now u know there are grads out there who served the nation n yet to secure a job
Abeg talk smfn else
— momoh (@Hansmomoh) September 20, 2018
But Sen. Ben Bruce was among those who screened and cleared them. Why is he coming here to sound like s hypocrite?
— ♛Joshua Mimam Sampson♛ (@MrJoshuaSampson) September 20, 2018
You are exposing ur weaknesses as a Senator and the irresponsibility of the institution you which u r a member…is screening ministers not one of the primary responsibilities of ur institution? U r just confused as to know what to tweet n not to..
— Raymond Akintayo (@RaymondAkintayo) September 20, 2018
Wait, I Wonder Why You And Many Others Are Not Holding Yourselves Responsible. These Ministers’ Names Were Sent To The National Assembly Which You Are Part Of For Screening And You Passed Them. So Stop Being Myopic With Your Thoughts. Good Morning
— Isa Ozo Musty (OFGF) (@IsaOzo) September 21, 2018
Sir, before you point fingers, you're one of the culprit yourself. What is the essence of screening this ministers by NASS? its time all political holders publicly present their certificates for screening by Nigerians
— Nrs.Dedrey Ogunnoiki (@dedrey_nrs) September 20, 2018
Will you be honourable enough sir to return the screening money you collected from them and the ones Nigeria paid you for being a senator? If ordinary screening you couldn't handle successfully. People like you should be thinking first before talking. Oh what a nation.
— WAR AGAINST POVERTY (@WARAGAINSTPOVE1) September 20, 2018
National Assembly misunderstood the power giving to them by the constitution, that ministerial screening to them is just mere interview and presentation. To me, Nigerians should blame NASS not @MBuhari on this contemporary issues of @nysc_ng
— Sanusi Mohammed Esq. (@MallSanusi) September 20, 2018
It simply shows that virtually all #Supposed screenings done by d senate are just for formality. It's more like dis is 'Oga's' person, so let him/her thru.
As much as it isn't the primary duty of d @NGRSenate to confirm d authenticity of certs, due process would've sorted dat.
— U.E.U (@drUkpaU) September 20, 2018